Thursday, July 30, 2015

Flashback Thursday Looking for Mary Magdalene in Vezelay

Vezelay is a city on a rock that rises from the valley below. It is one of the four cities from which the route to Santiago de Compostelo begins in France. It was from Vezelay that St Bernard called for the Second Crusade and it was in Vezelay that Richard the Lionhearted and and King Philippe Auguste met to go on the Third Crusade. But the main claim to fame of Vezelay is the Basilica of St Madeleine.

We being the stellar citizens that we are parked at the bottom of the hill as requested by the signs. We then proceeded to follow the pilgrims route up the steep streets leading to the Basilica. In January most of the stores lining the streets were closed but I can imagine what it must be like in the summer. Then as we finally arrived at the Basilica we were greeted by the parking lot in front of it. They got us again. We could have driven right up. 
The original religious foundation at this location began in the 9th century. It has undergone many changes and much destruction over the centuries. The Huguenots in the 16th century and then the Revolution had brought the building almost to the point of collapse. Violet le Luc finally took responsibility for its rebuilding in the mid 19th century. Today, it is a lovely church that will take your breath away with its beauty and its location.


Must sees here include the relics that claim to be St Mary Magdalene. They are what made this Basilica famous in the middle ages and still do so today. They are in a golden box behind a grill.

You also must check out the capitals. They are fantastic and we spent a good amount of time trying to locate the different ones we found in our guide book. There is a beautiful one of Adam and Eve with the tree and serpent and another one of Noah building the ark. There are almost 100 bible stories represented and the guide book documents each one. Finding them is the fun.

There was adoration going on in a small chapel and we joined the nun who was there for prayer. There is a new monastic community who has taken charge of the spiritual life of the Basilica.

There is an honor box to pay for the guide books. There was no gift shop in the Basilica. There is however a small gift store right across the street and we made a short stop there. Take your time to enjoy the view from here it wonderful.

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